Bradford City Football Club

Bradford City Football ClubIntroductionEarly DaysF

A Football Report
Bradford City Football Club

Bradford City Football Club


Bradford City, otherwise known as the Bantams was formed in 1903. The club is based in West Yorkshire, their main rivals being Leeds United and Huddersfield Town. The team play their home games at the Coral Windows Stadium, more commonly known as Valley Parade.


Early days

Bradford was initially a rugby stronghold around the turn of the century, but Manningham RFC soon ran into financial difficulties and an archery contest was held, in an attempt to raise funds for the club. This led to the handling code being dropped, and the city turned to soccer. Bradford City FC was then formed, and matches continued to be played at Valley Parade. The club then had an application to join the Football League accepted, and Bradford began playing in the Second Division.

Robert Campbell was appointed as manager in 1903, but was soon replaced by Peter O’Rourke in 1905. O’Rourke ensured that the team steadily improved, and Bradford were crowned Division Two Champions in the 1907/08 season.

FA Cup success

The following season, Bradford narrowly escaped immediate relegation on goal average. The 1910/11 campaign saw Bradford finish fifth in the league but that season will be more fondly remembered as the year that the Bantams won the FA Cup for the first time. After beating Burnley and Blackburn Rovers, the team beat Newcastle United 1-0 on aggregate in the final. War then intervened in 1915, and O’Rourke left the club in 1921.

David Menzies took the vacant managerial position at Valley Parade, but had a disappointing start as manager. The team were relegated in 1922, and again in 1927, shortly after Menzies had left the club. Peter O’Rourke then returned to the club in 1928, and saw Bradford promoted back to Division Two in the 1928/29 season.

O’Rourke then left for a second time, and passed the manager’s responsibilities on to Jack Peart. Bradford maintained their Division Two status until 1937, when they were relegated once more to the Division Three North. The 1939/40 Football League programme was then abandoned due to the outbreak of World War Two.

Post World War II

After football resumed in 1947, many managers attempted to achieve promotion with Bradford. However, none was able to do so, and the club was placed in Division Three after a league re-organisation in 1958.

Peter Jackson was Bradford’s manager in 1961, when the team suffered relegation to Division Four. Jackson left soon after the club’s relegation, and the team stayed in Division Four for the next eight seasons. Bradford eventually won promotion back to Division Three, after a fourth place finish in the 1968/69 season.

The team struggled to compete in this division, and were ultimately relegated again in 1971/72. Bobby Kennedy took charge of the team in 1975, and managed to get Bradford promoted the following season. Once again the team failed to compete in Division Three, and finished bottom of the league in the 1977/78 season. Kennedy then left the club shortly after the relegation.

Tragedy at Valley Parade

In the 1979/80 campaign, Bradford were unlucky to miss out on promotion, after goal difference separated the team from a promotion place. However, the team made up for this disappointment two seasons later, when they finished as Division Four runners-up.

Trevor Cherry became Bradford’s next manager in 1982, and he oversaw the team’s promotion to Division Two in the 1984/85 campaign. Bradford then achieved two consecutive mid table positions immediately after their promotion. However, this season was marred by tragic events on the final day of the league season.

During the home match with Lincoln City, a fire broke out and destroyed the main stand. Over 200 people were injured, and 56 people lost their lives trying to escape the flames. The club was forced to play their home games at various other local stadiums, before moving back to a rebuilt Valley Parade a year later.

Bradford then reached the play-offs, after finishing fourth in the 1987/88 season. The team were unable to get past the semi-final stage, however, and lost 3-2 to Middlesbrough on aggregate. After two seasons back in Division Two, the Bantams were relegated back to Division Three in 1990.

Rise to the Premiership

Division Three was re-designated as Division Two upon the formation of the FA Premier League in 1992. Chris Kamara then became Bradford’s manager in 1995 and he led the Bantams to the play-offs in the 1995/96 season, after the team finished sixth in the league. Bradford beat Blackpool 3-2 on aggregate, before beating Notts County 2-0 in the final at Wembley.

Kamara was eventually sacked in 1998, after the board announced that he had taken the club as far as he could. Paul Jewell took over, and achieved promotion to the Premier League after Bradford finished as Division One runners up in the 1998/99 season. The team narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the 1999/2000 season, and Jewell left the club soon afterwards. Chris Hutchings was installed as the next manager, and he led the Bantams into the Intertoto cup in 2000. Hutchings was soon sacked, however, as Bradford had started poorly in the league.

Bantams in decline

The team was eventually relegated in 2001, and this relegation signalled a slow drop down the league ladder for Bradford. In 2004, the team suffered relegation to Division Two, which was renamed League One. Colin Todd immediately took over, but Bradford struggled to retain their League One status. The Bantams were again relegated in the 2006/07 season, after finishing in 22nd place. This season, Bradford are aiming to gain promotion back to League One, and prevent another relegation out of the Football League.

Club Honours

  • Football League Division One Runners-up: 1998/99
  • Football League Division Two Champions: 1907/08
  • Promoted from Division Two via Play-offs: 1995/96
  • Football League Division Three Champions: 1984/85
  • Football League Division Three North Champions: 1928/29
  • Football League Division Four Runners-up: 1981/82
  • FA Cup Winners: 1911
  • Football League Cup (best season): 5th rd, 1965, 1989
  • Intertoto Cup: 2000

Club Records

  • Record League Victory: 11-1 v Rotherham United, Division Three North, 25 August 1928
  • Record Cup Victory: 11-3 v Walker Celtic, FA Cup 1st rd (replay), 1 December 1937
  • Record Defeat: 1-9 v Colchester United, Division Four, 30 December 1961
  • Most League Goals: 128, Division Three North, 1928/29
  • Highest League Scorer in Season: David Layne, 34, Division Four, 1961/62
  • Most League Goals in Total Aggregate: Bobby Campbell, 121, 1981-1984, 1984-1986
  • Most League Goals in One Match: 7, Albert Whitehurst v Tranmere Rovers, Division Three North, 6 March 1929
  • Most League Appearances: Cec Podd, 502, 1970-1984
  • Youngest League Player: Robert Cullingford, 16 years 141 days v Mansfield Town, 22 April 1970
  • Record Transfer Fee Received: £2,000,000 from Newcastle United for Des Hamilton, March 1997 and £2,000,000 from Newcastle United for Andrew O’Brian, March 2001
  • Record Transfer Fee Paid: £2,500,000 to Leeds United for David Hopkins, July 2000

Contact and Ticket Information

For club enquiries and tickets contact:

Bradford City Football Club
Coral Windows Stadium
Valley Parade
West Yorkshire
Main Reception (tel): 0870 822 0000
Ticket Office (tel): 0870 822 1911

For ticket information online, see the Club Website

Travel Information

By road:

From the North East

– Take the A1 Southbound to join the A1/M1 link, and then join the M62 Westbound.

From the South

– Take the M1 or A1 Northbound to join M62 Westbound

From the North West/ West

– Take the M6, then M60 Manchester Ring Road to join M62 Eastbound.

From M62

– Exit at Junction 26

Take the M606 towards Bradford. At the end of the motorway, take the middle or right hand lane, and follow signs for Ring Road East (under tunnel) onto Rooley Lane (sign-posted Leeds/Bradford Airport). McDonalds is now on your left. Over traffic lights at Asda Superstore, and turn left at roundabout into Wakefield Road. Stay in the middle lane.

Travel over two roundabouts, staying in the middle lane (signs to Shipley and Skipton) onto Shipley Airedale Road (A6037), which then becomes Canal Road. Just after Tesco (on left), turn left into Station Road (A6177), and left again into Queens Road. Travel up the hill to the third set of traffic lights, and turn left into Manningham Lane. After Gulf Petrol Station (on left), take the first left into Valley Parade for Stadium.

By bus:

First Bradford and Keighley & District Travel Company operate frequent bus services from Bradford City Centre, Bradford interchange and outlying areas to the Coral Windows Stadium (buses stop on Manningham Lane or Queens Road).

By rail:

The nearest Rail Station for the Stadium is Bradford Forster Square. Services are operated by Northern Rail. Bradford Interchange also connects with Leeds City station for National Express East Coast and Cross Country services.